Friday, January 29, 2010

Recipes made from Soft Whole Wheat Sandwhich Dough

The baking assignment for this group was to make 3 recipes with the Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf dough. This is an enriched dough, which means it includes ingredients like eggs and honey. I used half white whole wheat for the whole wheat portion of the recipe. This was a WONDERFUL dough, it felt so silky!

If you want to be part of this group, sign up at . Michelle leads up this wonderful group of bakers. We bake twice a month, baking through the recipes of "Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day."

Soft Hot Dog Buns

First, I made hot dog buns. I rolled the small pieces of dough into logs. I like rolling challah strands, so I rolled them that way.

My husband was excited about having fresh hot dog buns for the giant kosher hot dogs he bought at Sam's Club that day. He wanted to make sure the buns were long enough so he brought a hot dog to me so I could make the buns the right length!

I put egg wash on top and then sesame seeds.

They were delicious!

Soft Whole Wheat Garlic Bread

My yoga teacher, Dixie, is undergoing cancer treatments. She always eats healthy, and I like the idea that healthy bread I make contributes to her recovery. I had made a bread with garlic cloves on top for her, and she liked that. Garlic is said to promote good immunity. Plus, I add the extra ingredient of love and thoughts of good health for Dixie when I make bread for her.

I thought I would use this dough to make a whole grain loaf, with garlic. I used one pound of dough. Although I ended up using a whole head of garlic, the mellowness of the honey and eggs of the dough hid any sharpness of the garlic. I made a mini (1/2 pound size) loaf for ourselves, and we just loved it.

First, I smashed the garlic cloves with a cookie spatula I had just purchased. A knife seemed hard to handle, and this worked perfectly. Smashing the garlic helped me to peel the garlic easily.

Then, I chopped the garlic with my bench knife. This was really faster than using my knife, too. It brought back old childhood memories of my mom chopping fish with her chopper! I still have that old chopper somewhere, I should dig it out! It's the "original food processor" of our family.

Here, I've rolled out the dough and put the chopped garlic on top.

Then, I rolled the loaf and put it in a loaf pan--seam side down.

I had some egg wash, left over from the hot dog buns. Why not put a golden color on the garlic loaf? I'm glad I did, because it just made the loaf look so tasty! The crust was delicious, too.

Here's a picture of the one pound loaf and the 1/2 pound mini loaf:

I saw Dixie at our next class. She LOVED the bread. She said the garlic wasn't too strong; very mellow, actually. "The bread is delicious, nutritious, and great with winter soups or stews," Dixie said.

This one is a keeper! I made a similar bread for Dixie to try with the master dough. I rolled that one out and sprinkled it with garlic and olive oil. She will pick her favorite one, and I'll name that bread after her!

Some else in the class said that Dixie gave them a garlic clove to try, that was baked in the bread. They absolutely loved the clove, with all the flavors baked in. I plan to try baking a loaf with freshly ground flour for our class. This is a small, wonderful class. They love healthy eating, most people around here prefer sweet or fried foods. So it's fun to share and get their opinion!

Whole Wheat Apple Strudel Bread

I hadn't wanted to try making this bread. I made a similar bread with challah dough. Peeling the apples and rolling out the dough just feels like a lot of work! People ask me to make it, but it's a lot of work. Here's a picture of that bread:

This recipe is rolled into a log and placed into a tube pan. The apples keep pouring out, and it's messy. The recipe I made this time was easier to manage, and fit into a loaf pan.

I decided to make the Apple Strudel Bread when I realized there was an Arbor Day holiday coming up. What a wonderful recipe to commemorate the day--it has apples and walnuts. Both come from trees!

I rolled out the dough, and put the diced apple, raisins, walnuts, cinnamon and sugar on top. I only had one apple, so I used that. I had my doubts that not peeling the apple would work, but I was willing to try it.

There was just enough filling. I think that next time, I will use 2 apples and cut the amount of raisins and walnuts slightly. I wish I had prepared a larger loaf pan. I was concerned that the bread would spill over to the oven; it didn't. :)

I baked the loaves until they reached over 180degrees. I felt the bread when it was firm, but the interior measured only 130 degrees. Since it only baked about half the time that the recipe called for, I decided to bake the recipe longer. I had heard comments that this recipe had a lot of wet spots and liquid. However, since the top was already brown, I covered the loaf with foil to keep it from getting too dark.

I am glad that I baked this until the temperature seemed right, it was just perfect. No wet spots, no runny apple!

My hubby gave it a "10," which we give to fabulous recipes. He said, "This is bread? It tastes like cake!" He said it reminded him of my mom's apple strudel. Here's a picture of my first attempt at making my mom's strudel:

Mom made it without a recipe, using her own cookie dough recipe. She learned this recipe from a neighbor, Tillie Miller. Tillie used 1/2 inch of oil to bake the strudel, but my mom had to change that when her cholesterol went up! My sis and I stood by mom with measuring cups 2 separate times, both of us have different recipes. And my mom's recipe changed as she had to give up certain foods. Everyone loved mom's strudel. This is probably the 1970 version of mom's strudel recipe; in the end, it became a raisin pie. Mom's arthritus kept her from doing individual pieces. I haven't been able to duplicate any of mom's strudel recipes--yet!

Here's a picture of the interior of the apple strudel bread. We ate it first on Friday night. This is all that is left by Saturday evening! It was really good!

I'm glad to learn that the unpeeled apples worked ok. I'll try using unpeeled apples in my original recipe, also!

If you would like to see the other recipes made by other people in this group, just click on this link:

HBinFive is hosted by Michelle
of Big Black

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pita bread in the toaster oven?

I think that the toaster oven is an underutilized energy saving appliance. Sometimes, I just want to make a small piece of bread. I don’t want to heat up the oven for that.
I had about a half pound of Master dough from the “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” book in my dough bucket. So I thought I would that I would experiment and see if I could make pita bread in the toaster oven. I know the book doesn’t list this dough as a preferred option, but I thought I would try it anyways.
First, I took about half of the dough and rolled it really thin.

I had been heating up the toaster oven to 500 degrees for awhile. The toaster oven's baking pan began heating up at the same time. So it was hot when I put the dough on the baking pan.

Here's a picture of the dough puffing up! I guess that means I rolled it thin enough. The AB5 book said it was really crucial to roll it thin.

Tada! Here's a picture of the pita bread when I took it out of the oven. Looks like pita bread!!! :) I am happy, because you just can't buy great pita bread around here. I love it, nice and hot.

I wrapped the pita bread in a towel while they cooled so they would stay soft.

We have a brick oven bakery in our small town, "Scratch Bakery." Pretty amazing, for a town of 55,000. But a lot of people come here to escape the big cities and improve their quality of life. The owner told me that the reason my pita breads get hot is because my oven isn't hot enough.

We were able to enjoy warm pita breads! My husband said "It tastes like pita bread!" So I guess I couldn't ask for much more.

I think I am going to take my baking pan into a hardware store and have them cut an unglazed tile to fit my toaster oven. That might give and even better result! I have small foil baking pans that fit my toaster oven (from the dollar store!) and I can turn those upside down to keep in moisture for some of the recipes.

A few hours later...

I went to Lowes, and they cut an unglazed tile for me. It fits my toaster oven!!!

Now I have 3 empty dough buckets. They are talking to me..... "fill me up and bake!" they are saying!

I wonder what I will try next:? Is it time for the bagels, or should I try this new tile?

Bagels!!! I would love to make only one or two bagels at a time. It would be really easier to deal with a smaller pot and make mini bagels in my toaster oven.

Stay tuned!

7/2/10--followup post:
I found that my toaster oven, even though it says it goes up to 500 degrees, really only goes up to 350 degrees.  I checked it with my thermometer. So pita and bagels probably would work better in higher temperatures.  Darn!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes A Day "Master Dough"

I'm excited about my twice a month baking challenge with the "Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" baking group. I just love the people in this group! Really fun and creative. Everyone is helpful, giving tips that make our baking easier and even more fun. The group is sponsored by Michelle of BigBlackDogs. Michelle has set it up so we can see what the other people in the group have done. If you want to check those out, just click on her link.

This is the first official challenge of the group--baking the signature whole wheat bread recipe from the book. Then we bake two other recipes with the same dough.

Here is what I made:

  • Two whole wheat "master dough" loaves:

I had promised my wonderful yoga teacher some whole wheat bread. I made her one whole wheat bread on my baking stone.

Also, I have a lot of garlic; she loves garlic. I was doing a lot of baking in one evening, and didn't want to spend a lot of time on any of the recipes. There's a garlic studded baguette recipe in the book, but I didn't have the time to roll out the dough, form a baguette, and do extra steps.

Therefore, I just peeled the garlic and cut the cloves in half. After scoring the loaves I pressed the garlic into the scores. The garlic seemed to roast as the loaf baked. It smelled wonderful, even the next morning!

My yoga instructor was very excited to see the garlic loaf. Since I picked up a lot of garlic at Sam's Club, she asked if I could make another garlic loaf with chopped up garlic in the loaf also. She wants to enjoy her bread with plain tomato soup!

Turkish Pita Bread with Black Sesame Seeds! :

YAAY, I finally get to use those black sesame seeds I shlepped from Los Angeles on my last trip! I bought them for a bbq pita recipe that I saw. By the time I got the seeds home, it was past bbq weather!

This was easy to make.

We felt this was ok. We like the regular white flour pita bread better. I guess it is what is familiar to us.

Spicy Whole Grain "Pillows":

Ok, these were supposed to be crackers. This way my first time trying to make crackers. I had a tough time cutting them, I didn't have access to a pizza cutter at the time. I rolled the knife across, and the dough just stuck together. I was late finishing up before dinner, and I guess I didn't dock them enough. If I do this again, I would use my egg slicer gadget to poke holes in the dough. A way of repurposing a gadget I haven't used in a long time!

Moving the separate squares of dough to the cookie sheet wasn't easy either. Very time consuming. I'll look for easier ways to do this, because my husband LOVED them!

He liked the pillows when they first came out of the oven. Two days later, they were hard and he didn't care for them.

I have to also say thanks to Zoe and Jeff, the authors of "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" and "Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day." They patiently answered all my questions over the last year--and there were many! They enabled me to bake wonderful breads, and try new things.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I am taking part in the "Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day" Bread Braid. People, from all around the world, go through the recipes of this wonderful book together. I baked two preview recipes back in November and December--Pumpkin Brioche and Whole Grain Challah with Cranberries and Orange Zest.

I will start reporting on the "official" recipes as we go through the book, along with my creative inspirations. We will probably be baking together for a couple of years; there are 100 recipes. We will make 2 doughs per month. Hope you will return mid month and at the end of the month to see what I have done.

Flour Test--Sam's Club vs King Arthur All Purpose Flours

I am a big fan of King Arthur flour. Just love baking with it! I love the high protein, high quality features of this flour. I began using the King Arthur bread flour when I got my bread machine in early 2007.

A plus for me—I am not used to baking with humidity, so I don’t seem to have to adjust as much with King Arthur as with other flours.

I switched over to the King Arthur all purpose flour for my no-knead breads. Lately, I’ve wondered if the extra cost of King Arthur flour is needed. In one of Peter Reinhart’s books, he said he felt Gold Medal’s “Better for Bread” flour performed just as well as King Arthur all purpose flour. So I thought I would try a test of my own, against Sam’s Club flour. A lot of my friends were using Sam’s Club flour, and it’s a lot cheaper.

I baked 3 half batches of the Master Recipe of “Artisan Breads in Five Minutes A Day.” I felt this bread showed the flour off the most:

Sam’s Club All Purpose Flour = Sample A
Sam’s Club Bread Flour = Sample B
King Arthur All Purpose Flour = Sample C

I tried to keep everything consistent between the three flours. Everyone tasted the breads in the same order—A, B, C.

Here are pictures of the 3 doughs, in my Rubbermaid buckets:

Sample dough A (Sam's All Purpose): I mixed this dough first. I added the recipe's amount of water, had to add a lot more flour until it felt right. Dough had a different color, too.

Sample dough B (Sam's Bread Flour): Better texture, even when in dough form. Had to adjust less.

Sample dough C (King Arthur All Purpose): When mixing the dough, had to add a lot more extra water until it felt right. But this was my favorite to mix. It's also my usual flour:

Here are the 3 loaves on my peels. I remember that A was quite wet. It was flat on my peel, didn't rise much.

Here they are, after baking. Sample A stayed flat, didn't have oven spring. I didn't score any of them. A friend called when I was going to put the first one in the oven, and I forgot to score it. So I didn't score the others, just to be consistent :)

The appearance of the cut loaves:

I think that "A", on the left, is still wet looking several hours later. It tasted wet, too. We ate it the first night, the three other people did taste testing a few days later.
And here are the results of the taste test:
A, Sam's All Purpose
B, Sam's Bread Flour
C, King Arthur All Purpose

Taster 1:
Liked them all the same, but felt it wouldn't make a difference if strong flavored ingredients, like cinnamon, were added. So would use any of them if white flour wasn't the star ingredient. "Why pay the extra money when the flour isn't the main ingredient?"

me, a baker , Taster 2:
A: Texture not great, but an ok flavor.
B; Bland taste
C: Best texture and taste. Actually, the taste felt somewhat salty tasting, even though no extra salt was added. I liked KA taste and texture the best. Would use where All Purpose is the main ingredient. Otherwise, might try a less expensive flour

Taster 3:
A: The favorite
B: 2nd favorite
C: liked least

Taster 4, a baker
A: ok
B: liked texture better
C: the favorite, best taste and texture. But doesn't do a lot of baking to warrant the extra cost, wouldn't use KA if most of flour is whole wheat

Taster 5
A; has a somewhat sweet flavor, the favorite
C: Didn't like the taste as much as the first one. Was surpised that this wasn't everyone's favorite, since I brag about KA all the time.
This is just a small sample, and our humble opinions. They are all good flours. I might try another flour when using mostly whole grains in my breads. The small amount of all purpose might not make such a big difference then. I might sample Pillsbury and Gold Medal Better for Bread at a later date.
I think I feel really happy when I am baking with King Arthur flour. And my breads turn out better when I am happy, not matter what ingredients I use! I hope this test helps people, in this economy.